Gensui Imaging -              Encrypted Journal Fiasco                                    A Short Story by Grant LindsayUn...
------------------------------------------------------- Part   1 -------------------------------------------------------  ...
------------------------------------------------------- Part   2 -------------------------------------------------------“I...
complete this project.While waiting for the current search to finish, she took a minute to calculate her progress. There w...
“Does that sound like what we need?”She just nodded.“Okay, Val. Here is what well do. First, youre done for the day. Go ho...
About the Author                     As the Product Manager for Compliance Attender for Notes, Grant is responsible for   ...
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Short Story: Gensui Imaging – The Encrypted Journals Catastrophe


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The following is part two of a fictional story, based on a true-to-life situation. (Part one is available here.) The names of companies and people are fictitious, but the situations they face are the same as those faced by many companies. Perhaps, as you read the events unfolding at Gensui Imaging, you will see similarities to the challenges you face as well as ways to meet them.

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Short Story: Gensui Imaging – The Encrypted Journals Catastrophe

  1. 1. Gensui Imaging - Encrypted Journal Fiasco A Short Story by Grant LindsayUnder the copyright laws, neither the documentation nor the software can be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated, or reduced toany electronic medium of machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without the written consent of Sherpa Software Partners, except inthe manner described in the software agreement.© Copyright 2011 Everest Software, L.P., d.b.a. Sherpa Software Partners, L.P.All rights reserved. Printed in the United States.Compliance Attender for Lotus Notes is the registered trademark of Sherpa Software Partners, L.P.
  2. 2. ------------------------------------------------------- Part 1 ------------------------------------------------------- “I t had been a mild December in Pittsburgh so far. There had not been any snow, but today it was cold and overcast. Now, as Alexandra Jennings looked out the seventeenth floor window of the William Penn Hotel, she saw that the promised scattered showers had decided to settle in like anunwelcome relative. She took a small sip of her Chardonnay as she turned her attention back to the growing dinin the Grand Ballroom as people continued to arrive.This was the “Big Event,” a joint, formal, two-location, public announcement and celebration of the Gensui-Acmemerger. There were still all the legal hoops to jump through, which meant things were in flux and there was morethan a little uncertainty. Alex had never liked uncertainty.She scanned the room from her perch by the window, as if she was watching the event on a screen, an observernot a participant. Alex saw Derek Reinholt, current head of Gensui Imaging, moving through the room withRoberta Newell, his counterpart at Acme Co., shaking hands and making introductions.Several hundred Gensui employees were going to be here. There was also a two-way video conference tie-inwith a hotel in Anaheim, California, where Acme Co. had its offices. The several screens around the roomshowed a live feed of a similar ballroom with a growing crowd of Acme Co. employees milling around andchatting before the presentations and speeches. The scenes on the screens added to Alexs feeling ofdetachment.Other Acme Co. executives were present at the Pittsburgh event, as well. Among them, Marc Fuentes, currentlyAcme Co.s Chief Operations Officer and likely to become Alexs new boss. She had met him by phone and likedhim well enough, but she was not inclined to meet him in person, although she knew she should. The details ofthe new company structure had not been finalized, yet. Still, if things continued as they appeared to be going,she would no longer be reporting to the head of the company.She told herself that mergers always shake things up, but this impending change felt like a demotion. It felt likeretribution for her slip-up a few weeks back when Derek had first disclosed the merger and Alex hadthoughtlessly sent an email about it to her husband. It had all been blown out of proportion, she felt. Especially,since the emails were stopped by some email filtering software. In actuality, nothing had happened. There wasno harm done.Even now, as she thought back on how she had been ambushed in Dereks office, she found herself gettingangry. Peter Terrell, the Information Systems Director, could have come to her first. They could have cleared upthe misunderstanding quietly between them. Why did he have to involve Derek and shame her in front of him?And now, she was sliding back in the company, instead of forward.Her heated recollections were interrupted as she caught sight of Derek and Roberta coming her way. “Alex, letme introduce you to Bobbie Newell. Bobbie is the current head of Acme Co.” Then, turning to the other woman,he continued, “Bobbie, this is Alex Jennings our Operations Manager.”The two women smiled and shook hands. “Nice to meet you, Alex,” Bobbie said.“Likewise,” was all Alex could manage to say.Bobbie broke the uncomfortable pause. “You know, as a Gensui customer, we have always been pleased withthe quality of service weve received from your team, Alex.” She glanced at Derek and added, “In fact, thatconsistent high quality was a contributing factor in our decision to pursue this merger.”Alex tried to focus. “Im glad,” she said. Then, added, “Were very customer focused.”Bobbie nodded and there was another pause. Then, Derek suggested he and Bobbie continue their rounds.Each offered their farewells and Alex was left alone, again. That went well, Alex told herself sarcastically, as shetook a large swallow of wine. Could you have been any lamer? | Page 2 of 6
  3. 3. ------------------------------------------------------- Part 2 -------------------------------------------------------“I understand that, Brian.” Valerie Wrights voice was raised as she spoke into her phone, but she wasnt afraid ofbeing overheard. She was alone in the cubicle farm that provided work space for her and a dozen others. It waslate and everyone else was either downtown at the merger gala or at home watching Wheel of Fortune or FamilyGuy or doing something—anything—better than what she was doing.“Im working as fast as I can on this!” She paused to listen to the reply. “Well, maybe if you let me work, youll getit faster. Calling every hour doesnt make the computer work faster!” Valerie slammed down the receiver. “Thatguy is driving me crazy,” she vented to the empty room.The Legal team, at the worst possible time for them—in the midst of the frantic merger activities—had also beencalled on to defend Gensui in a copyright infringement lawsuit. The key component of the defense, as it hadbeen explained to Valerie, was proving that Gensui had been using the disputed product name long before theopposing litigant was claiming. That involved searching the email system.At first, it seemed like an easy task that might take a few hours using an automated search. That idea nowseemed like a dream Valerie had or a hallucination. The overworked, fatigued Email Administrator had beenworking 12, 14, and eventually, 16 hour days and all the previous weekend on the search. Meanwhile all herregular work was getting backlogged.When Brian Hamilton, Gensuis Chief Counsel, had first made the search request, a seeming saving grace wasthat Gensui had been using IBM Dominos built-in journaling capabilities for more than a year, and it was allworking fine. Each mail server collected messages as they arrived and placed them in a local mail journaldatabase. Each day, a new journal was created automatically by Domino.There were initial growing pains in the early days of implementing journaling. Every week or so, Valerie had tomanually move the old journals off the mail servers to a dedicated server for on-going retention. Eventually,though, she “contracted” one of the Application Developers with a free lunch to write a little script for her to movethe inactive journals to the storage server automatically on a schedule.The whole process just worked and, except for allocating more SAN space a couple of months back, Valeriebarely had to monitor it. All that had changed. Now, it was blowing up. The capture worked fine with theexception of one small detail. The messages were all encrypted.On the surface, that appeared to be a good thing. Encryption meant that the journal contents were protectedfrom unauthorized access. Furthermore, the alternative journaling method, redirecting journal copies to a mail-indatabase, had the undesirable side-effects of an unmanaged, endlessly growing database as well as morerouter traffic.During the journaling pilot testing, spot checks and manual searches revealed that all the data was accessibleand discoverable, as long as the Notes ID that encrypted the messages was used. There appeared to be nodown side and, to top it all off, native journaling was free, included with Domino. Therefore, the decision wasmade to go with local, encrypted journals.Valerie was now living with the painful discovery that this seamless decryption only works in the IBM Notes userinterface and not with a scheduled, automated process. As a result, a server-based agent could not see thecontents of the stored messages and, naturally, automated searching was producing useless results.What could be done? As far as she could see, just one thing: A user-initiated, manual search, one journal at atime, followed by a copy and paste into a separate database to house the results. At first, this process wasannoying. It quickly grew up to become irritating before it graduated with honors to frustrating and followed thatwith a doctorate in maddening.To make matters worse, Brian was increasingly getting on her back to make good on her promise to deliver theresults in “a day or two,” which was now a week late. Valeries supervisor, Peter, was supportive of her, knowingthe long hours she was putting in. She could tell, though, that he was getting pressure, too, and wanted her to | Page 3 of 6
  4. 4. complete this project.While waiting for the current search to finish, she took a minute to calculate her progress. There were 798 dailyjournals of various sizes to search and she had finished searching number 201. She was barely twenty-fivepercent done. Faced with this depressing fact, Valerie knew she would have to go to Peter in the morning andconfess failure. Maybe they could get an extension on the deadline or get some help to finish.Exhausted, Valerie put her head on her desk and tried not to cry. ------------------------------------------------------- Part 3 -------------------------------------------------------The following morning found Peter in his office listening to Brian, who was sitting across from him, ranting aboutValeries “utter lack of professionalism” and “shocking rudeness.” He knew that, in these situations, it is best justto listen before responding or taking offense.Once Brian had vented his frustration, Peter responded. “Its a stressful time for all of us, Brian. And Val hasbeen working double time to get this request completed. Im sure that is taking a toll on her.”“Thats no excuse,” Brian shot back.“I agree. Its not an excuse,” Peter offered, “just a reason. Listen, Ill talk with her and well get this straightenedout. Dont worry.”Brian seemed to calm down, even if he may have been fuming on the inside. With nothing more to say, he roseand left. Peter took a deep breath and let it out slowly. There was a lot going on and he would like to solve atleast one problem before two or three new ones cropped up. He picked up his desk phone and pressed a singlebutton on the keypad.When the person on the other end answered, he said, “Val, I know you are beyond swamped. But, I need to seeyou sooner, rather than later, please.” After a pause, he added, “Great, see you in a few minutes.”When his email administrator appeared a short time later, he noticed how haggard she looked. She looked sorun down and exhausted, in fact, he began to wonder if she had gone home last night at all.As she slumped into a chair, Peter asked, “How much sleep did you get last night, Val?”“About two hours on the couch in the lunch room.”“Oh, Val,” Peter replied softly. “I really appreciate your dedication to this, but I dont want it to kill you, and it lookslike its halfway to doing that.”Val did not respond.“How is it going, anyway?”“Not good,” Valerie began. “Theres no way to get through all the journals. Im barely a quarter of the way done.So...,” she trailed off. Her body language conveyed defeat.“Okay, Val. Lets get you some help. Do you have any ideas?”She shrugged.“I do. I got an email yesterday from Sherpa Software. Apparently, they can do Journal decryption and searchingor something like that. Let me find the email.” After a brief pause, he continued. “Here it is... Yes, they candecrypt native Domino journals and make them ready for automated searching.” He looked up at Val and asked, | Page 4 of 6
  5. 5. “Does that sound like what we need?”She just nodded.“Okay, Val. Here is what well do. First, youre done for the day. Go home and sleep. Come in tomorrow. In themeantime, I will get on the phone with Sherpa and get the ball rolling on this service they offer. Then, tomorrow,Ill pass them on to you to get started. How does that sound”“Okay.”“Great. Now, go wait at your desk. Ill call a cab to take you home. I dont want you driving.”Valerie left and Peter set out to make his phone calls. Maybe he would get one problem solved today. ------------------------------------------------------- Part 4 -------------------------------------------------------Pipers Pub was gradually filling up with lunchtime patrons. The foursome from Gensui Imaging, however, werealready seated in a booth and had their drinks. They alternated between studying the menus of British pub-inspired choices, glancing at a European soccer match playing out on the large televisions, and chatting abouttopics both personal and business.The lunch outing to the Pittsburgh’s Southside had been Peters idea. He knew that everyone involved in thelitigation and journal search project needed a break, especially since the more frantic parts had wrapped up. Henaturally included Valerie, who was across from him, and Brian seated at his right. Rounding out the group wasAmber McCarthy, one of Gensuis paralegals, sitting next to Val.Brian had resisted the notion of lunch, on the grounds of being too busy, when Peter had first invited him. Yet,Peter had persisted. “Everyone has to eat, Brian,” Peter had said. “An hour or two isnt going to make adifference and, more to the point, we all need this.” Eventually, Brian had relented.Had it only been a week since the dramatic meetings with Brian and then Valerie in his office? So much hadhappened since then and so much progress had been made that it seemed like months, not mere days, hadpassed.Once Peter had gotten Val on her way home, Peter had engaged Sherpa Software and they had respondedquickly. It turned out that Gensui was not alone in trying to search Dominos encrypted journals and, in response,Sherpa had developed a low-cost professional services package to solve this exact problem. Once theagreements were in place, things on the technical side moved rapidly.The staff at Sherpa had applied some innovative thinking to the problem, too. A technician there had suggestedthat, given the volume of data and the tight deadline, they scrape up as many Notes client machines as theycould. By dividing the work up, they were able to get through a complete conversion in just about 21 hours. Andbest of all, although the process ran on client machines, it didnt require any manual work once it was started.Val had loved that part!The result of the conversion was a set of unencrypted journals that could be searched. Sherpa Software thenwent further and provided a temporary license for their Discovery Attender product so that Gensui could use it toperform the actual search. This proved to be another time saver. The entire turn around had been less than fourdays. Getting help from Sherpa Software to get this project done was like a tonic for Valerie. She was back toher usual upbeat demeanor.Being able to deliver the result set to Brian had also improved his mood dramatically. It had also helped, not tomention that Valerie had apologized. It seemed that they were both willing to put the more combustible mattersof the past weeks behind them and move ahead amicably. Thus, it was time to take a brief respite, enjoy eachother socially, and refocus on whatever challenges lay ahead. | Page 5 of 6
  6. 6. About the Author As the Product Manager for Compliance Attender for Notes, Grant is responsible for product research and development, pre-sales technical support (e.g., Demos), post-sales technical support and competitive research. Grant joined Sherpa Software in 2007 and has 17 years of experience in Information Technology. Of those, more than 16 were spent building applications with Lotus Notes and Domino. He worked with a wide range of company sizes and across several industries including insurance, consulting, venture capital, manufacturing, software and more. Grant is an IBM Certified Advanced Application Developer and an expert in emailmanagement and compliance, LotusScript, Notes Formula Language, application design and security. He isalso skilled in C/C++ and Java Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for Notes and Domino. Grant isaccomplished in web delivered technologies: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.He graduated in 1995 from the Career Development Institute with a Programmer Analyst Diploma. Grant spendshis off time with his wife, Lydia, of 19 years and their three retired greyhound racers, Rio, Wavorly and Oriole. | Page 6 of 6